Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Luke Brady. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Luke Brady. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday 27 February 2020

The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre | Review

The Prince of Egypt
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell

In 1998, The Prince of Egypt became an animated sensation, bagging an Oscar and much critical acclaim. Since then it's been on a long journey to the London stage. Originally beginning in California in 2017, many changes have been made across the world to bring this current, reimagined production to life.

The plot is made up of the Exodus story, following the child of a Hebrew slave, Moses, who is found in the river and adopted by Pharaoh's family. All grown up, Moses discovers his real heritage and flees the palace to discover his true purpose in life. It's in the vast desert that a case of divine visitation via a burning bush, shows Moses his true mission to free the enslaved Hebrews and take them to the promised land. 

Musically Stephen Schwartz's score is beautiful, with sweeping melodies and evocative patterns, but frequently, the lyrics don't match up in terms of power; often just pointing out the action, rather than developing it. However, it's the choral moments which really soar, with Deliver Us providing so much power. Almost operatic at times the ensemble do an outstanding job of coming together to perform tight harmonies that fill the cavernous Dominion Theatre.

It's the 'telling' aspect of this musical which makes it fall somewhat flat. Philip LaZebnik's dialogue is cumbersome, with very little character or narrative development. There are many moments, which although wonderfully performed, do not develop the plot or characters and feel unnecessary, and whilst some moments are over explained by the dialogue or music, others feel undeveloped. Namely the plagues which are projected in rapid succession but are unclear.

It's safe to say subtlety does not feature in this show and the first act especially feels considerably pantomimic, with the one liners from the film not transferring to stage as effectively. There are also pacing issues, which are resolved a little in act two but do make the musical drag.

However, aside from these issues, there's no denying that this is a spectacularly well performed musical. Amongst the main plot, there's a huge focus on the rivalry of Moses and Pharaoh's birth son, Ramses, which is brought to life excellently by Luke Brady and Liam Tamne. Both actors give their everything to the limited dialogue and create characters which we feel for and are both vocal powerhouses. Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime are accomplished in their performances and perform the Oscar winning song When You Believe brilliantly. With Allado giving a particularly strong performance as the headstrong Tzipporah; it's wonderful to see a woman on stage motivated not only by the man in her life.

As Jethro, Gary Wilmot is underused but excellent in the time he's given. Credit must also be given to Debbie Kurup, Mercedesz Csampai, Simbi Akande and Jessica Lee who stand out throughout. Mia Lakha is also brilliant in her various young roles and is certainly an up and coming star of stage.

Visually this show is a treat. Kevin Depinet's hanging set wraps around the auditorium and cleverly makes the vast space feels more enclosed and welcoming. The simplistic design makes use of many projections by Jon Driscoll which are effective at transforming the space feeling grand, lavish and imposing despite not physically being there. The money moments, such as the parting of the red sea and the building of the pyramids are extremely well done.

It's Sean Cheesman's choreography which is the real star of The Prince of Egypt. Sharp and so so energetic it's amazing to watch. The ensemble come together to create various scenes, materials and emotions which tire you out just watching. Even in tableau moments, the precision is clear to see and this has got to be one of the strongest and most energetic ensembles around.

For spectacle and energy, The Prince of Egypt is worth a visit. It's not going to change your life but it'll provide a fun few hours of superfluous theatricality that looks and sounds very pretty.

The Prince of Egypt is currently booking at the Dominion Theatre until 31 October 2020

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Thursday 16 November 2023

SuperYou! the Musical in Concert at the Lyric Theatre Review: Potential to be Otherworldly

SuperYou! the Musical in Concert
Lyric Theatre 

Having made its UK debut performance at MusicalCon in October 2022, where it was an audience hit, SuperYou went on to do two days of workshop performances in London last year and last night had its West End premiere concert performance. With music, lyrics and book by Lourds Lane, the show tells the story of Katie White, a comic book author whose superheroines aid her in navigating through grief, discovering self-love, and embracing the strength of her own voice.

After being lucky enough to catch one of the workshop performances, I was incredibly excited to follow the development of this show and see how it grows and evolves over its various iterations. Whilst this concert version didn't quite live up to the expectations I'd built up in my head, it did have a number of stand out moments and showcased the potential of this beautifully heartfelt musical, and hopefully paved the way for future outings.

What I love about this show is how much passion and care has clearly gone into telling the tale of embracing your differences and being true to yourself. The energy is next level throughout and the performances are so earnest you can't help be charmed by it all.

Musically there's an array of styles, from rock songs to country ballads, all of which are performed with vigour and power, just as you'd expect in a show about superheroes. Leading the gang, SuperLu-cie Jones once again soars, delivering larynx lifting vocals with ease, sincerity and heart. Her shining voice matched with greatly witty and endearing characterisations once again cement her as a star of musical theatre. As her brother and fellow comic enthusiast, Matty, Jonty Peach gives a wonderful performance, I only wish we got more chance to see and hear him. His chemistry with young Katie (gloriously played by Aaliyah Monk) is really lovely and the pair create a convincing back story to root the show.

Completing the hero squad are Joni Ayton-Kent as Seven, Sharon Ballard as Blast, Lourds Lane as Rise and Jenny O'Leary as Ima-Mazing, who all give strong, well characterised performances. The roles themselves are quite stereotyped and not hugely well-rounded but they're performed well and bring some killer vocals. Luke Brady as Jay is really engaging and gets to really soar vocally in act two.

Choreography is a big part of this show, with Maddy Brennan (Mom) and Will Bozier (MiRoar) communicating almost solely through JoAnn M. Hunter's choreographed dance/movement, to great effect. The concert setting doesn't quite allow the movement to soar as it would in a full production but it's certainly a great way to tell the story and is quite striking at times. I do feel that it sometimes covers for a lack of character development, especially with the Mom who is pretty one dimensional but there's a lot of promise and a number of ways for the movement to elevate the storytelling. 

There were also a few balancing issues, with the vocals sometimes being overpowered by music, so crucial lyrics were lost. Also, the setup of music stands across the stage meant the audience were physically disconnected from the action. Moments when it really shone were when these were stepped in front of, such as the closing of act one. Of course, this is a show put on with a week of rehearsal so a lot of issues can be forgiven but it would be great to see and hear the musical in it's full, fine-tuned glory.

Whilst the musical owes a lot to social media, having achieved huge popularity on tiktok during lockdown, something about the social media portrayal in the show doesn't quite work. Compared to the workshop showing, this version regularly mentions virality and tiktok, and whilst this does push the story along, it also feels somewhat cringey and awkward. It does provide opportunity for a discussion on the impact of social media but that doesn't feel necessary in a show like this which already has so many other messages to put across, so instead it just comes across as an underdeveloped layer. Perhaps it's an attempt to appeal to younger audiences but the show has so much to offer in terms of heart, and performances, it really doesn't need anything else to be appealing to a wide range of theatre patrons. 

In transitioning the show to be more "mainstream" and 2023 relevant, it has lost a lot of the charm and sincerity which was so abundant before. The changed plot also means the character development is diminished. Previously, Katie had a clear journey from an unconfident girl, brought down by various traumas, to eventually finding herself and making her own choices; however this time, her journey feels less well rounded and the actual big moment of discovery sort of comes from nowhere. 

Despite its flaws, SuperYou is a genuinely good show that deserves a future life. The potential is overflowing and I hope it gets a chance to develop further. SuperYou is a life affirming show with some wonderful messages, performances, energy and music and with some tweaks to supercharge it, the show could be a really glorious addition to the theatre scene. 

Reviewed on Wednesday 15th November by Olivia
Photo Credit: Matt Marlin and Simona Sermont for Shooting Theatre

 {AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Friday 23 November 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review

West End Live Lounge
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 18th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

We all know by now that West End Live Lounge concerts are in my top ways to spend a Sunday, and last weeks 90s extravaganza was no different! A host of the West End and theatre in generals finest, took to the stage at The Other Palace to perform some remixed and refreshed versions of 90s classic hits as well as some less remembered tunes.

Ever humourous and energetic, Vikki Stone and Paul Taylor Mills presented the night, which raises funds for a different charity each month, with banter and bounce. Opening the show, Matthew Harvey treated us to a laid back version of the secondary school music class classic, Wonderwall which perfectly set the tone for the night of nostalgia. 

A string of vocally flawless performances followed with Sam Coates' arrangements doing justice to the performers, venue, musicians and audience. As always he breathes fresh life into music and manages to balance warmth and energy in everything he touches. Particular stand outs included Lauren Drew's spine tingling rendition of I'm Your Baby Tonight, Sharon Sexton's All About Soul which had the entire audience bopping along, and Brady Isaacs Pearce's Hallelujah which brought Carrie Manolakos vibes and a whole lot of heart and power. 

The buzz was clear during the interval, from the beaming faces, to bopping heads and general chipper vibes, the anticipation for act two grew and we all knew we were in for another series of musical treats.

Vocal powerhouse and sultry queen Danielle Steers gave ballad realness with Don't Speak whilst Divalution brought their usual sass with their epic 90s mash up. All the ladies have not only voices for days, but for months. Some icy vibes were given to the evening by Jordan Luke Gage's dark and vocally incredible performance of You Oughta Know. 

Sophie Isaacs also performed a lovely mash up, whilst, accompanied by gasps from the audience, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton joined forces to perform the well loved song which was cut from Bat Out of Hell: It Just Won't Quit. Every single performance of the night had something special and it's really magical to experience such diversity come together to celebrate music and talent.

As always, if you weren't at this West End Live Lounge, you missed a whole lot of brilliance but don't fret because there will be future concerts and it's clear from the Union Theatre to now, that the only way is up for Shaun McCourt and West End Live Lounge!

Keep up to date with West End Live Lounge on twitter

photo credit: Leigh Lothian